Medical Research

Hearing Health Foundation

aka Hearing Health Foundation

New York, NY


The mission of Hearing Health Foundation (formerly the Deafness Research Foundation) is to prevent and cure hearing loss and tinnitus through groundbreaking research and to promote hearing health. Hearing Health Foundation's vision is to have a world where people can enjoy life without hearing loss and tinnitus.

Notes from the Nonprofit

In October 2014, Hearing Health Foundation was honored to be selected to present our Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) research consortium and progress at the prestigious Milken Institute Partnering for Cures international conference in NYC in November 2014. Hearing Health Foundation is one of only 20 selected worldwide as an Innovator Presenter.

Hearing Health Foundation was awarded the opportunity to present our Hearing Restoration Project at an HRP-focused symposium at the 2015 Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO) Conference.

Ruling Year


Interim Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Margo Amgott

Main Address

363 7th Ave 10th Floor

New York, NY 10001 USA


research, hearing loss, deafness, balance, hearing damage, tinnitus, cure for hearing loss





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Ear and Throat (H42)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Emerging Research Grants (ERG) Program

Hearing Restoration Project (HRP)

Prevention and Education

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of return website visitors

Population(s) served


People with hearing impairments

Context notes

Number of returning visitors to

Number of unique website visitors

Population(s) served


People with hearing impairments

Context notes

Users that have had at least one session within the selected date range. Includes both new and returning users.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

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What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

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What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

The mission of Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) is to prevent and cure hearing loss and tinnitus through groundbreaking research, and promote hearing health. HHF's vision is to have a world where people can enjoy life without hearing loss and tinnitus.

PROGRAMS: HHF supports hearing and balance research through its two main research programs: Emerging Research Grants (ERG) and the Hearing Restoration Project (HRP).

Over the years through ERG, HHF has funded new and emerging investigators in the following disciplines:

• Hearing Loss & Tinnitus: age-related, noise-induced, drug-induced, otosclerosis and otitis media
• Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD): causes, diagnosis, and treatment for disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information
• Hyperacusis: Extreme sensitivity to sound
• Vestibular and Balance Disorders: Dizziness and vertigo, Ménière's disease
• Congenital Deafness: Usher syndrome
• Fundamental Auditory Research: genetics, molecular biology, regeneration biology, physiology, anatomy
• Hearing and Balance Restoration: cochlear implants, sensory hair cell regeneration, and auditory nerve regeneration

One of the scientists funded through HHF's ERG program is responsible for discovering that chickens regenerate their inner ear hair cells after damage and mammals do not. This study led to the development of the HRP in 2011.

HRP is a consortium of senior researchers at 11 world-renowned institutions in the U.S., Canada, and U.K. The goal is to deliver a biologic cure for hearing loss and tinnitus, through collaboration and data sharing.

The HRP Strategic Research Plan is structured into three phases:
1. Phase I – Discovery Research: Examination of which genes trigger the regeneration of hair cells in certain animals, as well as which genes in mammals prevent natural hair-cell regeneration or genes for regeneration therapies.
2. Phase II – Pathway Validation: Utilizes genes identified in Phase I to trigger and explore pathways for hair cell regeneration in humans.
3. Phase III – Develop Therapies and Treatment Options: The HRP Consortium will partner with a pharmaceutical or other company to develop drugs that mimic the identified genes

• Hearing Health Magazine: A quarterly publication that serves as an educational resource, bringing consumers the latest news in hearing research, treatments and technology.
• Partner for Hearing Health Corporate Council: Companies that support the importance of hearing health.
• Safe and Sound Program and Seal: Showcases our Partners' support of the fight against hearing loss and tinnitus.

Since 1958, Hearing Health Foundation has awarded more than 2,200 grants that fund emerging hearing and balance research. Our Emerging Research Grants (ERG) program fills a critical need for young researchers embarking on their scientific careers. It prepares these talented hearing and balance scientists for future funding from the National Institutes of Health, and each year HHF congratulates a new crop of alumni who have achieved that goal.

Then in 2011, HHF launched the Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) is a consortium of scientists at world-renowned institutions working collaboratively to develop a biologic cure for hearing loss and tinnitus. The HRP consortium model aims to accelerate the timeline to a cure by eliminating repetitive work and fostering cooperation rather than competition among scientists. The promise of a cure is focused on the inner ear hair cells that make hearing possible. In humans, hearing loss and tinnitus are permanent once the hair cells are damaged. Bird and most non-mammals have the ability to spontaneously restore their hearing after they suffer hearing loss by regenerating their inner ear hair cells. The HRP consortium is taking what we know about these animals and aiming to translate this to humans.

HHF is committed to keeping the community informed about our research progress as well as educating the public about hearing loss and prevention. Through our award-winning, quarterly magazine Hearing Health and our monthly emailed newsletter Hearing Health E-News, we keep you informed about the latest research and technology as well as our education and prevention efforts. Our daily social media updates on Facebook ( and Twitter (@HearingHealthFn) encourage people to ask and answer questions in a vibrant exchange of news, advice, and opinions.

Hearing Health magazine continues to uphold our reputation as the ultimate consumer resource on hearing. Our quarterly readership tops 220,000 and complimentary copies are distributed to the offices of more than 10,000 hearing healthcare professionals. Our magazine is proudly distributed to the members of the International Hearing Society (IHS), the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), members of the American Speech- Hearing-Language Association (ASHA) who are hearing aid dispensers, and all of the hearing care centers in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Founded in 1958, Hearing Health Foundation is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to improve the lives of people with hearing loss and Tinnitus. HHF has 4 full-time employees and is governed by a volunteer board of trustees that contributes financially each fiscal year. HHF fulfills its mission by funding groundbreaking hearing research and by promoting hearing health in the following ways:

• Research – HHF is the largest nonprofit supporter of hearing research. Our in-depth knowledge of the hearing and balance space enables us to target research areas in need of funding, as well as identify talented and innovative researchers to carry out research in these areas.

• Support – HHF assists those who have hearing loss and Tinnitus through outreach and awareness programs. In 2014 we launched a resource center on our website specifically for war veterans. Please visit for more information.

• Prevention - We continually work to get out the message of prevention. Too many people have suffered preventable hearing damage, such as damage from noise.

HHF has developed a Strategic Research Plan for the HRP to guide the consortium's research, and is divided into three distinct phases and multiple sub-phases. The research is overseen by HHF's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), who evaluates HRP projects for funding and monitors the performance of funded projects against the goals of the projects.

Phase 1 – Discovery research: Compare the fish, chick, and mouse to discover pro- or anti-regeneration pathways and determine supporting cell fates. So far, Scientists have identified various pathways for hair cell regeneration. Since there are many potential gene targets, they continually utilize bioinformatics methods to winnow down and determine which are most relevant. Researchers have shown in the mouse neighboring supporting cells remain after deafening.

Phase 2 – Pathway validation: Verify animal model pathways and describe regeneration strategies. Recent technological advances have enabled researchers to examine single hair cells rather than entire clusters. This aids our focus our study on gene expression immediately after a single hair cell is damaged. The question now being asked is, what are the early events that occur in the hair cells of zebrafish and chicks, but not in mice, before the hair cells die? The genes not undergoing the same expression in the mouse as in the other two animal models will be targets for manipulation.

Phase 3 – Develop treatments: Identify drugs to trigger hair cell regeneration in mammals.

For the ERG program, the main indicator of success is tracking future receipt of NIH awards by former grantees as well as published research. The governing body of our ERG program, the Council of Scientific Trustees comprises senior national researchers and physicians who review each application for scientific merit and program relevance.

Brief History of Hearing Health Foundation:

1958 HHF was founded in 1958 as the Deafness Research Foundation. Since our inception, we have annually provided seed funding for innovative research through our Emerging Research Program (ERG).
1970's HHF began funding research into cochlear implant technology. Since then, Cochlear implants have benefitted more than125,000 people in the U.S. and 300,000 people worldwide.
1977 We funded research to understand how sensory cells transmit sound to the human brain.
1985 We began funding Tinnitus research that led to the Tinnitus Registry Database.
1987 We funded research that discovered spontaneous regeneration of hair cells in chickens.
1990's HHF was instrumental in establishing Universal Newborn Hearing Screening legislation. Newborn screening increased from 5% in 1993 to 97% today.
2010 HHF launched our Safe and Sound program to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
2011 The Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) was formed to find a cure through collaboration.
2013 Regeneration of hair cells in a mouse's ears was made possible by a HHF-funded researcher.
2014 We announced the start of HRP's Phase 2, and we are working to complete Phase 1.
2015 HHF launched a series of video research webinars and research events, offering an exclusive first-look at progress being made by our HRP Consortium.
2016 We received a Platinum rating from GuideStar, 4-Stars from Charity Navigator, and accreditation from BBB for our financial health and transparency.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance - Organization


Hearing Health Foundation

Fiscal year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.

Sexual Orientation

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Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
Hearing Health Foundation is committed to providing equal employment opportunity in all of Hearing Health Foundation’s programs and decisions. It is committed to hire, promote, compensate and maintain all other terms and conditions of employment without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, creed, gender, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, military status, status as a victim of domestic violence, criminal record or any other characteristic protected by law. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, recruitment and hiring, placement, promotion, termination, reductions in force, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training. Hearing Health Foundation will not unlawfully discriminate against any qualified employee or job applicant with respect to any terms, privileges, or conditions of employment because of a person’s disability. Hearing Health Foundation will make a reasonable accommodation, upon request, to any qualified individual with a disability, provided that the individual is otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of the job and so long as the accommodation does not pose an undue hardship to Hearing Health Foundation. Hearing Health Foundation will not unlawfully discriminate against any qualified employee or job applicant on the basis of his/her genetic information, which includes genetic tests of applicants, employees or their family members, the manifestation of diseases or disorders in family members, and requests for or receipt of genetic services by applicants, employees or their family members. Hearing Health Foundation will abide by Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 with respect to the restrictions and limitations placed on its acquisition and disclosure of genetic information.